29 Nov 2021
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and National Boards have released results from surveys to retest practitioner and broader community sentiment and perceptions about our role and work.
Insights gained from the results inform how we can improve our engagement with both regulated health professions and the community, with the aim of improving trust and confidence in our work implementing the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme).
The report released today provides the results from an anonymous survey conducted in late 2020 of a random sample of registered health practitioners and an anonymous survey sent to a random sample of members of the public across communities in Australia. There were nearly 10,230 responses from practitioners and 2,020 from the broader community.
Both surveys were managed by an independent consultant.
The surveys were, in the main, the same as ones carried out in 2018 and 2019, allowing for the comparison of changes in awareness and sentiment over the period. The overall survey results, when compared with the previous years’ data, are stable.
In what was a year of challenges due to the impacts of COVID-19, confidence and trust in Ahpra and National Boards increased among practitioners while levels stayed stable among the broader community.
A new question to measure awareness of initiatives by Ahpra and National Boards to help with the healthcare response by practitioners during the COVID-19 pandemic was added to the 2020 survey. The most widely known initiative was the pandemic response sub-register – 47 per cent among practitioners and 27 per cent among the broader community.
The Osteopathy Board of Australia has also published a report based on the results of the online survey of registered osteopaths.
Board Chair, Dr Nikole Grbin, said the 2020 survey provided particularly helpful insights, especially in a year when Ahpra and the National Boards had engaged more frequently than usual with practitioners due to COVID-19.
While it was pleasing to see an overall increase in trust and confidence in Ahpra and National Boards among registered practitioners in a challenging year, some still seem unsure about our role in implementing the National Scheme, and of our powers under the National Law.1
The Board recently published a webpage explaining the roles and responsibilities of osteopathy regulators and stakeholders.
‘The National Law uses a “protection of title” model that has protection of the public as the paramount concern. The survey showed that there are still different levels of understanding of what a title protection model of health practitioner regulation means and of the role of regulators,’ Dr Grbin said.
We are surveying practitioners again in 2021 and the results from that survey will be released in 2022. Ahpra has conducted focus groups with targeted sectors of the broader community this year while investigating other forms of data collection to gain insights and feedback.
1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).